Synopses & Reviews
In this powerful and dramatic biography Sylvia Nasar vividly re-creates the life of a mathematical genius whose career was cut short by schizophrenia and who, after three decades of devastating mental illness, miraculously recovered and was honored with a Nobel Prize. A Beautiful Mind
traces the meteoric rise of John Forbes Nash, Jr., a prodigy and legend by the age of thirty, who dazzled the mathematical world by solving a series of deep problems deemed "impossible" by other mathematicians.
But at the height of his fame, Nash suffered a catastrophic mental breakdown and began a harrowing descent into insanity, resigning his post at MIT, slipping into a series of bizarre delusions, and eventually becoming a dreamy, ghostlike figure at Princeton, scrawling numerological messages on blackboards. He was all but forgotten by the outside world -- until, remarkably, he emerged from his madness to win world acclaim. A feat of biographical writing, A Beautiful Mind is also a fascinating look at the extraordinary and fragile nature of genius.
Nash's life has been a remarkable mental journey. Nasar's first-rate biography describes that journey for us.
The New York Times Book Review
A Beautiful Mind tells a moving story and offers a remarkable look into the arcane world of mathematics and the tragedy of madness.
The Washington Post Book World
A fascinating overview of [Nash's] life and the intellectual history of his times...a wonderfully absorbing puzzle.
The Boston Globe
[A Beautiful Mind] might be compared to a Rembrandt portrait, filled with somber shadows and radiant light effects...superbly written and eminently fascinating...simply a beautiful book.
The New York Times
[Sylvia Nasar] has written a biography of John Nash that reads like a fine novel.
Charles C. Mann
The Wall Street Journal
After suffering with Mr. Nash's family through his madness, the reader greets his recovery -- and his ability to reforge a bond with his wife -- as a triumph...A Beautiful Mind is one of the few scholarly biographies I have encountered that could plausibly be described as a three-handkerchief read.
Richard Jed WyattandKay Redfield Jamison
The New England Journal of Medicine
Nasar has written an intriguing account of a fascinating man, of a "beautiful" mind, and of terrible madness. She has also written a deeply moving love story, an account of the centrality of human relationships in a world of nightmare and genius.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -437) and index.
About the Author
Sylvia Nasar is the author of the bestselling A Beautiful Mind, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography. She is the John S. and James. L Knight Professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.